Eldhusfjellet seen from Årsdalsryggen
Eldhusfjellet belongs to the Stølsheimen "1200m club". The summits that stand out from this enormous mountain plateau. Eldhusfjellet is located just above the popular Vardadalsbu (DNT) hut. Many trails lead to this hut (Stordalen, Modalen, Øvrehelland, Steinsland, ++) and as such, Eldhusfjellet can be reached via marked trails. The shortest approach in distance is from Steinsland, deep into the Modalen valley.
On a clear day you may enjoy having both Ulriken (Bergen) and Store Skagastølstind (Jotunheimen) in view. In addition, you see Lifjell (Hyllestand) and the steep mountains north of Sognefjorden.
Eldhusfjellet has a primary factor of 176m towards the slightly higher Høgdi. The saddle is just east of lake 1022m. The last adjacent 20m contour lines are 1040m. The saddle height is interpolated to 1030m.
Note: Class ratings are in reference to YDS (Yosemite Decimal System).
Note: The trail described below is not necessarily the easiest trail to this mountain.
Steinsland - Eldhusfjellet (summer/autumn)
From Bergen, follow highway E39/E16. At the E39/E16 junction in Åsane, follow E39. Cross Nordhordlandsbrua bridge and pay toll on the other side (NOK 45,- for passenger cars in Oct 2003). Continue northbound and not too long after the Eikefet tunnel, exit right towards Dale. After 16,6Km you arrive Mo. Drive through Mo (follow signs to Dale). After Mo, continue towards Steinsland at the Dale/Romarheim junction. Drive additional 20,9Km (passing the long Steinslandsvatnet lake). Watch for a walker's sign to "Vardadalsbu". Park along the road leading up to the nearest house, but don't block for traffic.
Continue towards the house for a few meters and exit to the right into the forest when you see a trailsign. A vague, but still visible path takes you up the mountain. You will be heading up near and along the stream coming down from the Kvernhusbotnen valley. Parts of this route can be very muddy after rain. Parts can also be quite steep (no exposure) and strenuous.
When you arrive Kvernhusbotnen, cross the river when you see a large pole. The further route is straight ahead and quite obvious. You'll restore your normal heartbeat while walking along the valley. After the hike up to lake 904m you will descend to the lake, pass it on the south (your left) side. Then hike up to the col between Høgdi and point 1116m. The "T" marking is quite good and small cairns will help you when snow covers the red paint and the forest trail has faded away.
Continue along the cairn trail until you have Eldhusfjellet on your right hand side. Head down towards the Vardadaltjørnane lakes and cross over a piece of land that seems to split the long lake into two. It almost does. Only a small creek runs between the lakes. This creek was insignificant when I visited the mountain in Oct 2003. I can not speak of the amount of water in other seasons. If crossing for some reason is not doable, then walk around the lake.
Assuming you crossed over the small creek, set a direct course towards the mountain. You will walk up a small boulder section before the mountain side gets steeper. This course will lead you directly towards the summit. Descend your ascent route.
Five wonderful week days had gone by and I had only been to Ulriken. Yesterday (Saturday) was spent completely fogged in on a mean hill near Dale, and I was overwhelmed when I realized that this Sunday would be completely gorgeous. Not a cloud over the mainland. I decided to go well above 1000m and experience Hordaland snow for the first time since before the summer. I picked Eldhusfjellet as the target. If lucky, I would also "bag" Høgdi, located just south of Eldhusfjellet.
Driving up Modalen was just wonderful. The weather was simply unbelievable. The scenery and the unforgiving hillsides could take your breath away. I hadn't been up here since I hiked Runderabben in 2000. It was good to be back. I found the trailhead right away and we started walking 11:15PM. That is, the dog was the usual himself, and *I* started walking 11:15PM. The sun made it warm the lowlands and I was getting soaking wet early on. I decided to order the dog to walk, and what do you know - the dog walked. In fact, he ran upwards. Just as if a herd of deer had walked the path one minute earlier. As it got steeper he started climbing. He didn't always succeed and fell back down. At it again. I forgot how strenuous the hillside was. I had too much fun watching the dog.
We hit the snowline at 900m. The sharp crust on the snow wasn't good for his paws, and I put him in the backpack. At lake 904m I decided to take a detour and hike across point 1116m. It costed some wasted vertical gain, but it's always nice to get some variation. After all I would be following the "T" trail on my way back. The hike up to point 1116m simply took all my strength away. The snow was deep, rotten, and I kept falling into holes hidden by the snow. We made it down to the Vardadalstjørnane lakes and found a good route across. Remaining was only a 200m strenuous hike up to the summit cairn.
We reached the summit 14:50PM. The summit was freezing cold, and I just couldn't keep warm. Not even a windproof mountain jacket over the woollen sweather and the fleeze windstopper did the job. Troll was happy with his lunch box while I was taking photographs. He had actually walked the final 100 vertical meters to the summit. I was proud of the little fur. He had done his job well. After the lunch, he started shivering. "Look at me, poor little thing"... "You're just putting on a show", I told him. He stopped shivering and layed down next to the backpack. The views were amazing. I spotted Hurrungane in the distance and concluded that the day was perfect.
We left the summit 15:10PM and Troll walked down to the lake before I gave him a ride. I let him out at the snowline (900m) at 16:05PM and he took off like a rocket. He knew a warm car was waiting down in the valley. It took us only 55 minutes (!!) down to the car. I had considered Høgdi on the way up, but it became clear that a) I was too tired and b) it would be dark before we got back to the car. Well, now I know how to get to Høgdi. Some other time...
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